Two Northern California RNs Return from Disaster Relief Mission to Philippines as NNU Effort Goes On
Two Northern California registered are returning from a medical relief mission to a typhoon-ravaged region of the Philippines, even as more RNs this week left to continue a volunteer effort sponsored by the Registered Nurse Response Network of National Nurses United.
Jane Sandoval, an RN community activist who works at St. Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco, returns tonight. Lyn Tirona, a Kaiser Sacramento RN, returned earlier this week. Both spent about two weeks on the ground, mostly on Panay, an island in the direct path of the storm.
Sandoval and Tirona are available for media interviews by calling 510-273-2264 or 510-273-2246.
They were part of a series of deployments by RNRN which has been sending nurses to the Philippines to provide medical aid since shortly after Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, described by meteorologists and NASA scientists as the most destructive and powerful tropical cyclone ever to hit landfall, struck.
RNs Jane Sandoval of San Francisco (R) and Ashley Forsberg of Michigan, at a temporary clinic in
Estancia, are among the RNRN volunteers returning from the Philippines this week
While Sandoval and Tirona have ended their assignment, a fresh delegation of RNs left this week, including RNs from Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Arizona, and California. The latest group includes a retired Sonoma County RN, Betty Woods. They are among over 3,000 RNs who have volunteered to be part of the effort.
RNRN/NNU plans to continue the medical relief mission well into the new year, long past the time most international cameras and reporters on the ground will have left. The public is invited to support this effort with contributions at http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/pages/rnrn-disaster-relief-fund
Sandoval and Tirona have been among the RNs providing basic medical care, such as wound care, respiratory problems including asthma that were worsened by the storm, offering critical stress debriefings, and other basic care at sites in Roxas and Estancia.
Driving to the various sites, Sandoval notes, where the medical team uses everything from abandoned concrete buildings to churches to existing clinics to set up in and deliver care “you see how the typhoon affected everything.”
“Every one of these little towns we go to has had some serious tragedy. They are not part of the big tragedy everyone is hearing about but their situation is every bit as important as these locations that get the media attention,” says Sandoval. “Acknowledgment of their situation is just so important. They are so moved that we care.”
They have worked with local public health officials, community groups, and health workers, such as the Alliance of Health Workers, which is a member of Global Nurses United, along with NNU. In the first week alone in Roxas, the nurses provided care for more than 1,000 patients
Estancia, like Roxas on the island of Panay, has been a particular challenge. In addition to the effects of the typhoon, was also slammed with a debilitating oil spill. The typhoon pushed the spill onto the shoreline, dropped oil onto people’s homes, and clogged the air with crippling fumes, all of which exacerbated health risks for area residents.
In Estancia, the RNs have worked with doctors from Singapore. As one doctor commented, “your team has been amazing.”